Off To Uni : Accommodation

The last Off To Uni post was all about applying for your student finance (if you missed it you can read it here) and todays post is all about applying for first year accommodation which is usually halls. This is all impacted on your student loan as knowing what you can and cannot afford helps you out a lot!

When applying for your accommodation theres a lot of factors to consider which I didn't even realise until before I started looking at accommodation. Of course you have to decide between on campus or off campus accommodation these helps narrow down your choices. On Campus means you are near everything including your lectures, the library and any other necessities on campus whereas off campus means you have to get transport into the campus which could cost you extra. If you are someone who often sleeps in and knows you are going to be late maybe off campus won't be for you. So think it through and be realistic when thinking about this also look at the university and how far off campus accommodation is away from the main campus.

 Then I personally would think whether you want to go catered or self-catered. This was an easy decision for me as I am quite a fussy eater and knew I wouldn't eat half the food they would offer and so it would be a waste of my money. Also I really like the idea of being able to go to the kitchen and get food in my pjs and not have to worry about getting dressed to go and eat. Self catered is obviously the sensible option for me but it might be for you. I know a lot of parents want their child to go catered so they know they are eating whilst living away from home. But remember this is your decision and you have to live with it. Catered of course means you have set meal times and have to eat between a certain time whereas self-catered means you have to cook for yourself but you get the freedom to eat when you want to. Again this then narrows down the accommodation you can choose as most halls don't offer both self-catered and catered flats. 

Afterwards it comes down to probably personal preference or what you can afford with your loan. Now this is if you want an en-suite or to share a bathroom within your flat. I knew pretty much straight away that I didn't mind paying extra for an en-suite as I thought, for me, it was a vital thing. Whereas I know other people are happy sharing a bathroom. For me most of the accommodation I was looking at meant sharing a bathroom with 5 or more people and for me that was too many. I like my bathroom in a certain way and a specific type of cleanness and didn't want to risk ending up sharing a bathroom with people who wouldn't pull their weight when cleaning. Also my friend also pointed out to me if you are ill do you really want to be sharing a bathroom? Then again I do know people who have had positive experience through shared bathrooms as well as I know my mate has a shared bathroom and its only with one other person which could be liveable with. Obviously whatever your loan can afford is a big factor in your decision.

Another personal preference when it comes to your accommodation, if its available, is your actual room. I was lucky enough to get a few decisions such as having a single or double bed or having a slightly bigger room. Again this is all down to your loan again. There is no point in applying for accommodation you know you aren't going to afford. This is why applying for your student loan early is important because it means you know exactly what you can afford.

After all this is done its now just time to wait for results day! Which probably seems forever away when you are at this stage as you probably apply for all of this before you even sit any of your exams. The next Off To Uni post is going to be about getting ready to go to university before getting your results.

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